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Things to do in and around Nerja and Torrox at Malaga's Costa del Sol
|Beach ActivitiesWater SportsGolfHorseridingRural TourismAdventure TourismSkiingEntertainmentGastronomy, RestaurantsNightlife|
Andalucia has over 800 km (497 miles) of coastline of which most is sandy beach. Unsurprisingly, 'going to the beach' is the single most popular recreational activity for tourists and residents alike.
Sunbathing on beaches generally becomes popular from late May, when the Chiringuitos (beach bars) start to open. The sun beds are set out and the paddle rafts and jet skis are prepared for the season. The average water temperature at the Costa del Sol is 18°C / 64°F (24°C / 75°F in August). There is a noticable increase in beach popularity in July and August when many residents from Madrid and other cities of Spain arrive at the coast for their annual holiday.
During the winter months, the beaches are mainly enjoyed by walkers, joggers and fishermen. The winters are mild with beautiful sunny days, so that sunbathing is even possible then and you may well have the beach to yourself. There are no private beaches in Spain. Everyone has the right to walk the entire coastline.
Andalucia has beaches for all tastes. Popular bathing beaches with showers and beach bars are typical of the Costa del Sol. Hidden coves often only reached by paths or tracks down from the cliffs, excellent for snorkelling and diving are also typical.
The beaches in Nerja are Burriana (the largest), Calas, Calahonda, Caletilla, Playazo, Salon and Torrecilla. Playa Calahonda, conveniently located adjacent to the town centre, is the picture postcard setting. Take a look from the Balcony of Europe before descending. See the Nerja Town Map to find out where Nerja's beaches are located. East of Nerja, towards Maro, there are numerous large isolated coves. Some accessable by car others only by path. Come here if you want to get away from it all.
There is no shortage of opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. In Andalucia, everything is available from sailing and motorboating, windsurfing, snorkeling and diving to sea fishing.
Golf is probably the most popular visitor Sport in Andalucia. There are nearly sixty golf courses in Andalucia, of which thirty are on the Costa del Sol. The fine weather allows golf to be played all year round. When Valderrama was chosen to host the Ryder Cup in 1997, the Costa del Golf received universal recognition as the finest winter golf resort in Europe.
Golf courses close to Nerja are Anoreta 30 km (19 miles) to the West in Rincon de la Victoria, and Los Moriscos, 39 km (24 miles) to the East in Salobrena.
Golfers visiting Almerimar can look forward to a course of wide fairways, with a profusion of trees and plants which afford plenty of shade and, at the same time, serve as natural hazards, protecting the fast greens. The course was designed during the period that Gary Player had just embarked on a second career in golf course architecture and was working in association with the experienced Ron Kirby. The layout is unquestionably American in style but the 18 holes of the par 72, 5892m (yellow tees) course, quite long at its inauguration in 1976, now plays shorter due to the technological advances of equipment, and the tendency for the ball to roll a long way on the generally flat fairways. Beware, though, that your ball doesn't carry on rolling into one of the five holes affected by huge water hazards and fair-sized sand traps charged with protecting the approaches to large greens.
Although technical advances in ball and club manufacture have been huge in the 25 years since the course opened, the passage of time has also seen trees mature so that they have become hazards on many of the fairways they demark. Being open to the sea, quite a few of the holes are exposed to breezes blowing in off the Mediterranean - an additional hazard that is, nevertheless, often welcome during the 300 days of sunshine Almería annually basks under. In fact, the lush vegetation affords a pleasant oasis-style feel to a round as the palm trees and lakes create spots of singular beauty set against the arid mountains that are the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
The par 3, 12th is a place where many a fourball takes stock of round. The island green is marooned in the centre of a lake, giving a tee-shot over 100m of water - will it spoil a good card? Or, will it redeem an otherwise forgettable round? The daunting challenge of facing up to what was possibly the first island green in Europe, is a topic that often arises at the Almerimar clubhouse, set within the Golf Hotel Almerimar between the first and tenth tees of the course. As the conversation mixes with the thousand natural aromas of an Almería evening, green, blue and white are the colours of golf at Almerimar.
Reach Almerimar using the N340. Take exit 409 marked 'El Ejido' and the course is just 6km away.
The horse is an integral part of rural life in Andalucia. The art of riding in Andalucia, is exemplified in Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art of Jerez, where there is a popular demonstration each Thursday morning. Many tour operators have trips to Jerez de la Frontera which also include visits to the sherry bodegas. The Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa Del Sol in Estepona holds dressage and other competitions.
Farms, riding schools, manèges and stables provide riding lessons or simply horses for riding. The Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa Del Sol in Estepona gives riding lessons and hires horses. The Hurrican Hotel in Tarifa hires horses which can be ridden accross the golden san dunes. La Almuña farm guesthouse near Gaucin hires horses to experienced riders. There are some very picturesque riding itineraries through the ascent of Sierra Nevada from the Alpujarras in Granada, the Coastal routes in Cádiz, desert itineraries in Almeria exploring Western Film Sets, the Sierra of Ronda in Malaga the nature parks of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas in Jaén.
Most of the festivals in Andalucia centre around horses. In particular, there is the Seville Spring Fair in April, the May horse fair in Jerez de la Frontera with a stunning display of the finest horses of the region, the Rocio pilgrimage in May, and the summer ferias in most towns and villages. At the end of August each year there are legendary horse races on the beach at at Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Each summer, Polo tournaments are held at the Santa Maria Polo Club in Sotogrande.
Andalucia provides ideal conditions for all sorts of rural tourism activities such as walking, mountain biking and cycling, hunting and shooting, fishing, brid watching, etc. etc.
Mountain climbers will find interesting resorts in the sierras of Grazalema, Ronda, Cazorla, Segura, Castril and, especially, in the Sierra Nevada.
On the opposite end of climbing, though using similar techniques, there is speleology. Nature's fantasy is evident in the formation of caves. Speleologists have good hunting grounds in the limestone formations of Andalucia.
There are many oportunities to practice paragliding in Andalucia.
Weather permitting, Andalucia Balloons offer daily passenger flights in Ronda, one of the most historic towns in Andalucia and only a short drive from Marbella. With the predominantly good flying conditions in Southern Spain, Andalucia Balloons can operate and fly balloons all year round. The changing seasons enhance the experience and offer something unique during each flight.
The region hosts everything from Formula 1 and World Motorcycle Championship races to small rallies both on an off road which the enthusiast can watch or take part in.
Andalucia with its mountains and acres and acres of open ground is a mountain biker's paradise.
Skiing in the Sierra Nevada
While you enjoy phantastic beach wheather in Nerja, you can find snow and ice on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Here, at up to 2,500 m (8,202 ft), the ski resort of Sol y Nieve is located which hosted the 1996 Ski World Championships. It is Europe's most southerly and thus sunniest ski resort with numerous runs of varying difficulties. The ski-lifts are in operated until May or June. Sol y Nieve is only two hours drive from Nerja, so you could go skiing in the morning and return to Nerja to swim in the warm Mediterranean sea two hours later.
Compared to some other tourist regions, Andalucia provides less organised entertainment such as theme parks. This is because the region itself provides its own entertainment: 800 km (497 miles) of sandy beaches, huge unspoiled natural areas and the many pleasures the Andalucian gastronomy has to offer.
Aqua Velis is 20 km (12 miles) West of Nerja in Torre del Mar. Other Aqua parks in the province of Malaga are Parque Acuatico in Mijas and the Aquapark in Torremolinos which is reputed to be Europe's largest aqua park with more than 70,000 square metres (753,474 square feet).
The Sea Life park in Benaládena Port exhibits the 'Danger in the Reefs', allowing you to experience the ocean's most deadly creatures, ranging from the blue ting octupus, capable of killing a person in 20 seconds, to the comical puffer fish which is only fatal if you are foolish enough to eat it.
In El Retiro in Churriana you can discover the oldest gardens of Malaga, founded around 1669, comprising three centuries of history and exclusive beauty through.
The Crocodile Park in Cartama is situated in one of the most beautiful nature areas of the Guadalhorce Valley, 15 minutes away from Malaga.
The Selwo Wildlife Park in Estepona is an impressive drive-through wildlife reserve with animals kept in as natural style habitats as possible with an emphasis on big cats.
You will find a seemingly never ending choice of restaurants and traditional Tapas bars with delicious food and friendly service. Or, you may prefer to try one of the typically Andalucian beach restaurants where you can enjoy anything from freshly fried and grilled sardines (Pescaito-Espetos, a local speciality) to Spain's finest Paella, having just watched it being prepared over a wood fire. Other local cuisine includes Ajoblanco (white garlic soup), Ajobacalao (salt cod in garlic), Migas (dish made with semolina flour), De La Doncella (red mullet) and Tortitas de Bacalao (salt cod cakes). Of course, top international cuisine is also available, as well as the ubiquitous sausage, eggs and chips.
Recommended Restaurants are El Niño and El Candil. See the Nerja Town Map to locate these.
Throughout the Costa del Sol, there are great venues for a night out, ranging from classy restaurants to boisterous karaoke bars. Casinos, nightclubs, 'chiringuitos' (beach bars), Irish and English pubs, Spanish Tapas bars, discos, flamenco shows, cinemas, etc. etc.
There are two Irish Pubs in Nerja, The Harp and Durty Nelly's. See the Nerja Town Map to locate them.